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WBC takes more lenient stance on banned substance clenbuterol

The sanctioning body will increase the allowable threshold for the amount of clenbuterol found in their drug tests before considering it a fail.

Hublot x WBC “Night of Champions” Gala Photo by Roger Kisby/Getty Images for Hublot
Wil Esco is an assistant editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2014.

It looks like beef is still on the menu for Mexican fighters.

Yesterday the WBC revealed that they’re going to increase the threshold for the amount of clenbuterol that can be found in a fighter’s system before considering it a failed test for PEDs. Over the past couple of years fighters such as Canelo Alvarez, Rey Vargas, Luis Nery, and Julio Cesar Martinez have all tested positive for the banned substance, though it’s known to be a pretty common issue in Mexico where that substance is injected into cattle.

The increased threshold, backed by WADA, for the allowable amount of the substance to be found in fighter’s blood system before considering them ‘dirty’. Vargas and Martinez were both revealed to have clenbuterol in their systems this week through random drug tests, but the WBC says the amounts discovered were so small that they don’t plan to punish the fighters.

The WBC is also using this new standard to sort of retroactively clear Canelo Alvarez’s name, as he infamously tested positive for the banned substance leading into his originally planned rematch with Gennadiy Golovkin in 2018.

“This is a confirmation of the innocence of fighters like Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and Francisco Vargas, who once were in the middle of controversy, when Clean Boxing Program tests performed by VADA found clenbuterol in their examination,” the WBC said in a statement.

“The WBC has received additional reports from VADA in which two Mexican fighters (Vargas and Martinez) showed atypical findings of clenbuterol, which are well below the new WADA standard. All fighters will receive proper nutrition education from the WBC Clean Boxing Program and weight management program. WBC champion Rey Vargas and WBC (mandatory) challenger Julio Cesar Martinez are at no fault with regards to their VADA atypical finding.”

Natually I expect this announcement to be met with a least a little skepticism, but if it genuinely circumvents the unnecessary cancellation of fights and the cloud of suspicion that hangs over fighters (unjustifiably), then I suppose it’s not such a bad move.

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